12th November 2018
Deputy moots congestion charge for Jersey
With St Helier’s roads becoming increasingly congested and awareness of the damage that traffic did to the environment, the States was forced to consider how it could keep traffic moving. Taking a lead from London, which had long faced similar issues, it turned to the idea of a congestion charge. Effectively a fee to drive vehicles within a specified area, a congestion charge would discourage those who had any alternative from using their private cars and promote the use of public transport. Unfortunately, with Jersey no longer having an island-wide railway, that public transport would still need to be road-based.
The idea was floated by Jersey’s Environment Minister, Deputy John Young, who told ITV News that the States “could also explore increased car parking charges and charges for polluting vehicles”.
“However,” reported the Jersey Evening Post, “the Constable of St Helier, Simon Crowcroft, has warned that the proposal – which would have to be approved by the States – could put people off visiting the town centre.”
Congestion charge and climate change
The mention of a congestion charge, even if it was only a talking point at the time, received considerable media interest and when, in December, Deputies discussed making climate change and carbon emissions regular items on the agenda of the Council of Ministers, the minutes record that Deputy Young had agreed to withdraw his amendment concerning a congestion charge for the time being after receiving assurances that environmental policy and taxes would be looked into in the following year.
“I want to see specific measures, fiscal measures, to encourage those good environmental behaviours,” he said. However, “that is an agenda to come and I do not want to be more specific today because I know there will be big debates about some of them, like there was when I happened to mention congestion charges. I will say no more.”
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